Friday, August 31, 2012

► MAURITIUS: Emirates to go 14x weekly as Air Mauritius, Air Austral & Air Madagascar band together to survive.

EmiratesBucking the ongoing trend amongst European carriers of reducing their frequencies to the Indian Ocean island, Dubai based mega-carrier, Emirates (EK), has announced an increase in its weekly frequencies from 11x weekly to 12x weekly from 28 October 2012, with the route going 14x weekly from 28 November 2012.

Emirates: Dubai, UAE - Port Louis, Mauritius
- EK3705/3706 operate Day 23456 from 28 October 2012 until 27 November 2012
  • EK701 DXB 0310 – 0940 MRU 773 | 2457
  • EK3703 DXB 0310 – 0940 MRU 773 | 136
  • EK3705 DXB 1000 – 1645 MRU 773 | 1234567
  • EK3706 MRU 1820 – 0110+1 DXB 773 | 1234567
  • EK702 MRU 2320 – 0555+1 DXB 773 | 2457
  • EK3704 MRU 2320 – 0555+1 DXB 773 | 136

Emirates Boeing 777 in Mauritius
Emirates Boeing 777 in Mauritius (SBhandary)
Whilst this may come as good news to the Mauritian economy, it comes as a serious threat to Mauritian national carrier Air Mauritius (MK) who, in the weeks to come, will form part of a cooperative alliance with neighbouring Air Madagascar (MD) and Réunion-based Air Austral (UU), as all three Indian Ocean carriers seek a return to the black following heavy losses during the 2011/2012 Financial Year.
"President Didier Robert of La Réunion told the gathered press that it was necessary for airlines of the region to work together. The new agreements they are now putting into execution follows the discussions at Routes Africa held in Seychelles in July and will help consolidate the services provided by each of the airlines from these Indian Ocean Islands."

In addition to increased inter-island frequencies, the first international destinations being considered by the regional alliance are Beijing and Shanghai in China, along with unspecified destinations in India though it is likely to be Chennai given that Air Austral is planning to launch services there from October. Air Mauritius already serves Hong Kong and Shanghai while Air Madagascar currently operates a twice weekly service to Guangzhou via Bangkok. 

The carriers' collective shift in market focus towards the Far East comes as no surprise as even fellow Vanilla Island carrier, Etihad-backed Air Seychelles (HM), is rumoured to be starting a 3x weekly flight ex-Mahé to Hong Kong from February 2013 following the delivery of the airline's second Airbus A330.